You know the old adage…”its just like riding a bike”…right, well that saying doesn’t so much work for me.
Let me explain.
When I was little, like most kids, I owned a bike. My first “big girl” bike was pink and I learned how to ride it at the Firehouse around the corner from where I lived. After a few years I grew out of that bike and bought a really cool blue 10 speed. In middle school I got an even cooler bike…a 12 speed! One day, when a girl too big for my bike was riding it despite the fact, she bent the rim and I could no longer ride the bike. Obviously this was much more horrible for her than me, but still….I was out a bike. And I never bothered to get it fixed and I never bought a new one…until last year when I decided to do a Tri. And it was like starting over. And given that I was never very bike savvy to begin with, I had a long road ahead of me. Loooonnnnnnggggggg.
The thing is, even though I owned bikes growing up and at one point even mastered the “no hands” technique, I was always hesitant to ride on busy streets or go too fast. I never felt quite right, or comfortable, on the bike. I would have much preferred to walk places and, unless we were specifically going for a bike ride, I usually chose that option. In addition, the town I grew up in is really small (read: 2.5 sq miles of land and @ 3,500 total population) and getting to a friends house, even the ones that lived the furthest from me, didn’t necessarily require a bike. Although it was a faster mode of transportation, I never minded just walking.
I still don’t mind just walking. However, in a Tri it’s swim-bike-run, not swim-walk-run.
It was late fall when I first started thinking about a Tri, but I didn’t commit to the idea until after the first of the year. When I started telling people they were exicted but most of them, at some point questions my bike riding skills. The questions ranged from “When did you last ride a bike?” to “Do you own a bike?” to my favorite, “Do you even know how to ride a bike?” The answers were as follows: 13 years, no and I’m not sure.
But I was about to find out.
Since it was January and I had zero intentions of riding a bike in the cold, I put off the purchase pretty much until I could no longer put it off. I had decided to just go with a regular bike, nothing fancy or expensive just in case I ended up hating the bike and therefore hating Tri’s. It took a few trips to a few different stores and a lot of my mom’s patience, but finally I found a bike that I thought could work. When I finally found the bike I liked (and by liked I mean it was pretty and I could sit on it without panicking) I felt slightly better about riding. Until I went for my first bike ride, if you can even call it that. I was a biking mess. I made it around the block twice and then entire time I was petrified of falling and would only stop up against a curb where I could put my feet out to help me stop. Real professional, huh? What I needed was some Biking for Dummies, but instead I just didn’t ride for a few weeks as if it would come to me in my sleep. Clearly this plan was not working. I eventually came to my senses and with about a month until race time I bit the bullet and got back on the bike. I don’t think I ever went more than 5 miles and I definitely never went fast, but I went. And I survived. And with very little practice, the race came and it was go time whether I was ready or not.
And I wasn’t.
The bike portion of my race could only be summed up sufficiently as a disaster. A disaster by the way, that I still have trouble talking about. Maybe in another post. Just take my word for it- it sucked. I sucked. But I finished and I survived.
And I am back for more.
I saved up and with some help from my parents, I went out and bought a new road bike. A bike that from the first second I rode, I was comfortable on. I love my new bike. It isnt that I hated my old bike, or even didn’t like it…I just never felt quite right on it. It didn’t fit me well and wasn’t suitable for long term anyway. I rode my new bike more in the first two weeks I owned it than I did the entire time I had my old bike. I still go fairly slow and I still carry a fear of falling but my confidence level is so much higher. I am so ready for my race next weekend and even though I am sure I’ll be nervous on the bike, I also believe I will do well. Just another sign of how far I have come.
Below are two pics from last year.
This first one is right when I arrived. Notice, the bike is a Schwinn. Here is something you might not know about Schwinns…they weight like 98427239lbs! Holy cow! Getting that bike on and off the rack was insane and I am really glad I only had to do it once for a race. My new bike is so light I can carry it with one hand.
This second one is just as I approach bike dismount. Don’t let the smile fool you, I plastered it on my face to keep from crying. In my head I am thinking “thank god this is over…holy crap I still have to run!”
I have two bikes and when I got my road bike I could not believe the difference. So light and so fast. I too like my road bike best!
Loved the post! I am hoping to do my first Tri in September and although the bike used to scare me, I’ve been cross training for months and feel fairly comfortable. I do however need a real bike, as in a road bike for racing and that… will most likely be put off for um… ever… LOL! 🙂 I can’t wait to hear all about your upcoming Tri’s!
I have never been good at riding a bike… even when I was younger. YAY for new bikes for you!!!
This is great… exactly as I recall it.
FYI… As of 2009, Delanco Township’s population is 4,377 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 30.49 percent.
The little town that could… we’re getting there!
OMG! This post is me. In the future. How did you do that???
I am sooooo sucky at bike riding. In fact, last night as I was thinking in blog, I thought about a post that Iwould title “Just like riding a bike!” LOL
Thanks for the heads up into my future.
I love that other share in my bike fears! Morgan- making the purchase is half the battle! It really does get better- don’t worry Beth, we all have to start somewhere 🙂
You’re so right!! Just like my post. OMG, I’m not comfortable at all on mine though – what if it’s not right and I just spent all of that money??
I’m hoping to get out on it Sunday, so we’ll see more as to how I feel on it. I KNOW it’s a good bike. It’s a GREAT bike, but I’m so terribly nervous. Compared to running, it feels like you’re going SO FAST on it!
You’re so much braver than me committing to tri when you bought your bike, though. I’m no where near that point yet.
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